Area hospitals implement creative ideas to educate visitors about the Gift of Life
Posted July 20, 2011 in Hospital Partner News, News Category
With Donate Life flags flying high at many hospitals in the region, thousands of residents and healthcare employees became acutely aware of the benefits of organ and tissue donation during Donate Life month in April. Hospitals highlighted transplant success stories, held donor registry drives, strategically placed donation awareness education materials, and talked with visitors and staff about the life-saving gift of donation.
“Every little thing we can do to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation is the right thing to do,” says Gene Ridolfi, Director of Transplant Services at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
At Barnes-Jewish, which performs well over 400 transplants annually, informational flyers were placed in employee transportation shuttles and in cafeterias. The hospital started in April a transplant blog called The Rare Gift.
Donate Life screensavers also were placed on all BJH employee computers and transplant success stories appeared prominently in the employee newspaper. In addition, the main lobbies had educational materials available at tables staffed by both transplant staff and MTS staff.
“Many of the people who came by said they already were organ donors,” said Ridolfi. “Others asked us if they could still be an organ or tissue donor if they had a specific illness or medical issue. We even answered basic questions such as which organs can be used for transplant and it was apparent that many didn’t think about bone and tissue donations.” St. Louis Children’s Hospital also raised a Donate Life flag and hosted donor awareness tables on its campus.
Some hospitals in the region, such as Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould, AR, held donor registry drives on campus to draw attention to the role that donors can play in saving lives. AMMC continues to receive phone calls asking for information on donor registration in response to the drive.
Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Crystal City, MO, reached out directly to employees by hosting a one-hour lecture on the role of MTS and the benefits of donation. Thirteen staff members attended the lecture, in which participants learned the importance of the decision to become an organ and tissue donor, about the first person consent law, the Aftercare support offered to donor families, and more. JRMC expects to offer the lecture again in the future.
“Throughout our region, from our academic medical centers and transplant hospitals to rural hospitals, we had incredible support to help honor donor families and showcase the benefits of organ and tissue donation,” says Ronald Gegg, MTS Manager of Academic Programs. “Through their collective efforts, we believe we’ve been able to reach thousands of people, prompting them to at least think about donation or become more aware of donations’ life-saving results. I hope that MTS and its hospital partners can continue to collaborate on activities throughout the year to maintain this critical awareness in the community.”
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“The memorial is in the shape of a beautiful tree of life,” says Pamela Walsh, Nurse Manager of 5ICU at Saint Louis University Hospital. “We got the idea after attending a national organ donation collaborative in 2009 and becoming inspired to honor the gift of life that donor families give to others.”
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